Site constructed and managed by Michael D. Beckett
1922 - 2016
The Society is one of the oldest in Welwyn Garden City. It was founded on 30th October
1922 with Henry Henshaw elected as the first President. The list of early Vice-Presidents
reads like a roll call of the founding fathers of the Garden City: Sir Ebenezer Howard;
Sir Theodore and Lady Chambers; Charles Purdom and Captain Richard Reiss.
The first ‘Annual Exhibition’ took place on 14th July 1923 and was a challenge for
organisers and entrants alike as most competitors had less than a year to establish
gardens from builders’ plots. The first prize in any category was the princely sum
of three shillings!
After this first year, the Society steadily progressed due to the efforts of a band
of devoted enthusiasts who raised the standard of horticulture in the town. Shows
were held in both summer and autumn.
During the 1930's, as the town and its population grew, the Society set up novice
categories in its shows to encourage a wide participation, especially from those
coming from industrial cities.
With the coming of the Second World War, the Society lost a number of its stalwarts
to evacuation and military service. With the country now concerned with food production,
the National ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign saw an increase in the keeping of livestock,
the establishment of allotments and a communal potato field.
By 1945 the ornamental garden was in a neglected state. With the aim of reviving
interest in horticulture, the local ‘Association for Civic Service’ formed a gardening
section. Gradually interest in cultivating flowers grew and the section reverted
to the title ‘Horticultural Society’. Flourishing once again, the 1951 Autumn Show,
held in the Cherry Tree ballroom, attracted 600 entries.
The Society had by now established the pattern of winter meetings with spring and
summer outings that continues to this day. A special event was planned to mark the
Society’s 90th anniversary in 2012. Roy Lancaster came to speak to a large audience
at Campus West.
Discounts are available to members at various local suppliers on production of current
Meetings are held in St.Francis’ Church Hall on the 2nd Tuesday of months - Feb.,
March, April, May, Sept.,Oct., Nov., Dec., at 8pm. Doors open at 7.40pm.